Saudi Transport and Logistics Minister Opens SMIC 2023; 4 Agreements Signed

Saudi Transport and Logistics Minister Opens SMIC 2023; 4 Agreements Signed

Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Transport Authority Eng. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser opened today the Sustainable Maritime Industry Conference (SMIC) in Jeddah, emphasizing the support and care the sector receives from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, and highlighting the Kingdom’s ambitious goal of reaching sustainable development, as stipulated in Vision 2030, and its significant contribution to reducing land degradation through the Saudi Green Initiative.

The conference is attended by Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Kitack Lim, ministers of transport and infrastructure, senior officials, and leading company heads from 170 countries.

In his opening speech, Al-Jasser mentioned Saudi Arabia’s achievements in the maritime industry sector and logistical operations, including its 17-place jump in the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) and its current rank of 16th among the world’s 100 largest ports in terms of container handling.

Al-Jasser also said that the number of ships flying the Saudi flag has surged by 80%. This remarkable growth cements the Kingdom’s position at the forefront of countries in the region in this regard.

He stressed that the ambitious Saudi maritime sector strategy, derived from the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics, aims to boost the sector’s development and come up with initiatives that harness the Kingdom’s natural and environmental resources to open valuable opportunities. The ultimate goal is to raise the maritime sector’s contribution to the Saudi economy by a staggering four times its current level, he said.

According to Al-Jasser, the Kingdom will rank eighth among the world’s top container-handling countries by 2030, an achievement that aligns with the goals of the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics Services.

During the conference, a tripartite agreement was signed by the Transport General Authority, ABS, and Zamil Marine Company to study the development of comprehensive regulations, technical standards, and scientific operational practices for the construction, operation, and maintenance of autonomous vessels. The agreement aims to enhance the efficiency of the maritime sector, encourage innovation, and enhance security and safety standards by setting regulations, technical standards, and operational practices for autonomous vessels. Through mutual support and cooperation, the agreement is slated to facilitate the safe and effective integration of autonomous ships into the maritime system.

The conference also witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Saudi Logistics Academy (SLA) and Escola Europea de Short Sea Shipping, to boost cooperation in developing training and education in the field of logistics at the global level. This cooperation will be implemented by establishing a virtual port laboratory in Jeddah, providing training courses in various fields related to logistics, implementing training-of-trainers programs, and developing training materials. The goal is to improve the quality of human resources in the Saudi logistics sector and enhance cooperation in research and development.

Another partnership was signed between the Transport General Authority and Bahri Company with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to support the Next Wave Seafarers (NWS) project. The project aims to raise the efficiency of seafarers globally by supporting the provision of practical training for maritime students from island countries and less developed countries on board the ships of the Saudi fleet.

During the event, TGA announced a new partnership with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in three critical environmental projects. Known as GLoFouling, GLoLitter, and GLoNoise, these projects aim to safeguard natural resources and marine life while reducing pollution and the risk of extinction of maritime flora and fauna. By working together, TGA and IMO are demonstrating their commitment to achieving common goals and preserving the planet’s delicate ecosystem.

In addition to its efforts to promote sustainability, the Kingdom has also announced its support for the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI). By investing in maritime education and training, TGA is laying the foundation for a thriving maritime industry that will benefit the entire region. As part of this effort, TGA has granted final accreditation to the Azdeh Maritime Training Institute and initial accreditation to Saudi Maritime Training Center SMTC. These institutions play a vital role in developing the next generation of maritime professionals and strengthening the industry as a whole.

The conference was attended by transport ministers and officials from various countries. These included Qatari Minister of Transport Jassim Al-Sulaiti, Bahraini Minister of Transport and Communications Mohammed Al-Kaabi, Somali Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Abdullah Ahmed Jama, Minister of Transport of the Republic of Ghana Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Iraqi Minister of Transport Razzaq Muhaibas Ajimi, Yemeni Minister of Transport Abdul Salam Saleh Hamid, and Minister of Equipment and Infrastructure of Djibouti Hassan Mohamed Ibrahim.

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